Horse Racing

Newbury and Lambourn MP strongly behind ‘innovative plans’ for resumption of racing behind closed doors

THE MP for Newbury and Lambourn has strongly backed the BHA’s ‘innovative plans’ for a resumption of racing.

Laura Farris, a recently elected Conservative MP, is in favour of racing starting behind closed doors once lockdown measures are eased.

Lambourn is home to some of the country’s top trainers in Nicky Henderson and Richard Hannon Jr. and second to only Newmarket in its horse population.

With the racing industry decimated by the current suspension, a cancelled Flat season would bite even harder in the ‘Valley of the Racehorse.’

But Farris – whose constituency also includes Newbury Racecourse – is hopeful the meetings that took place behind closed doors before the suspension demonstrates that racing can adapt.

She told Sun Racing: “I am strongly supportive of a reintroduction of behind closed doors racing as soon as the lockdown restrictions are relaxed.

“I of course understand that the Government cannot give a firm date as to when this would be.

“However, what is interesting about the ‘behind closed doors’ proposals is that they were essentially trialled at race meetings in Kelso, Wetherby and Taunton in March and were successful.

“I believe it’s correct to say that they involved no more than 200 people on site and since then the BHA has developed plans to reduce those on site even more.”

Farris raised the issues around the suspension in ‘Virtual Parliament’ this week has backed plans to use the likes of Newcastle and Lingfield with their on site accommodation in any resumption.

She added: “I know there are some considerations – such as overnight accommodation arrangements – that still need ironing out but I do think that these ideas are innovative, tested and hopefully compatible with the ongoing social distancing that is likely to be required of us in the long term.”

With some trainers concerned about the hearing racing is currently getting within government, at least Lambourn trainers can sleep a bit easier.


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